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FAQs 

Am I eligible to receive counseling services?

Registered ESF students are eligible to seek services at Counseling Services. During your initial intake session, you and your counselor will determine your goals and outline some of the services which may be most helpful to you.

How much will it cost?

There is no charge for counseling sessions. Counseling Services is supported by the Student Health Fee and the College’s budget. 

What kind of services do you provide?

Counseling Services provides counseling and educational programs to students, and are available to staff and faculty for consultations regarding students. We are also available to assist with referral for medication evaluation at Crouse, ESF’s Student Health Center.  

What type of counseling is offered?

Individual counseling is the most common services offered.

What crisis services are there?

Counseling Services has crisis/walk-in hours daily from 10am-11am and from 2pm-3pm and is very responsive to students in immediate need of help. After hours and on weekends and holidays, our phone line is transferred to a crisis intervention phone service where you can talk to a trained counselor.

Can anyone (like my parents, guardian or an employer) find out I've been in counseling?

No, not unless you give written permission for the information to be released. Your counselor will ask for personal information in order to assist in your care. This information is not shared with anyone inside or outside the College without your permission. Your instructors, advisors, and residence hall staff do not have access to this information.
If you would like us to communicate with a doctor or someone else about your counseling, you would sign a Release of Information stating who you want us to talk to and what you want us to say. The same holds true for future employers; they cannot have access to your counseling record without your written permission.
Counseling is confidential with a few exceptions. At ESF Counseling Services, protecting client privacy is of the utmost importance.  Counseling Services maintains confidentiality for all of its clients. Counseling records are separate from academic and student health records, and cannot be accessed by faculty, staff, or parents/guardians without the client’s written consent. There are exceptions to the limits of confidentiality and these exceptions are:

  • When a student is in an imminent danger to themselves and/or others.
  • When a counselor learns of abuse to a child or vulnerable adult
  • When a terroristic threat is made

If any of these conditions is suspected, the counselor will discuss with the client the counselor’s mandatory reporter status.

Are there limits on the number of counseling sessions allowed?

ESF Counseling Services provides short-term counseling. The average number of sessions needs is about 3-4, but this varies from student to student. For students who want or need longer-term services, we will assist them to find low-cost services in the community. It is important to us that all students receive the mental health services they need and we will work with the student until they are able to secure appropriate care.

Why get counseling?

Students seek counseling for a variety of reasons. Some may be dealing with anxiety or depression; others may have experienced a loss, such as a death in the family or a relationship coming to an end. First-year students may come to counseling if they are having a difficult time adjusting to college. Seniors sometimes wish to speak to a counselor when they are uncertain about life after college. Many students enter counseling when they are struggling with challenges in their relationships. If you have been experiencing difficulty with an issue, and have attempted to resolve it on your own and have not been successful, counseling may be of help.

Does counseling really help?

Yes, counseling has been shown to help people. There is significant scientific research with findings that people who have therapy feel better than people who don't have therapy. The American Psychological Association states that therapy is effective in reducing symptoms and in managing emotional problems. 

How do I make an appointment?

We suggest you call Counseling Services to arrange an appointment in advance. We can be reached at (315) 470-4716 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, during the academic year. No regular appointments are offered when classes are not in session.

Where is Counseling Services located?

Counseling Services is located in 105 Bray Hall – next to Student Affairs.

I am concerned about my son/daughter/student, can you call him/her/zir?

Counseling is a voluntary service available to students who choose to seek it. We encourage you to refer your student to us, and we are happy to consult to provide you general information about resources available to your student. However, in an emergency situation, please call University Police at (315) 470-6666 or (315) 570-6667to support a wellness-check.

How can I get help for a friend?

If you are concerned about a friend, let them know about Counseling Services . It is best if they make their own appointment and choose to seek counseling without pressure to do so. If you continue to feel concerned, and they choose not to seek counseling, feel free to call us to consult about how to best proceed.

Can my friend come with me for my first counseling session?

Counselors understand that starting therapy can be hard and it’s ok to have a friend with you to make it easier. However, your confidentiality is important to us so we may ask your friend to wait for you in the waiting room during the session in order to give you a chance to talk with your counselor about things that you might not want to discuss in front of your friend.

Do you do couples counseling?

Yes, we do couples counseling if both students are registered at ESF. We provide counseling for romantic partners who are concerned about their relationships or experiencing relationship problems.

Do you provide diagnoses?

Counseling Services provides short-term, solution-focused counseling services. While all of our clinical staff are professionally trained, licensed therapists, we generally refer students to off-campus services for a thorough evaluation if a diagnosis needs to be made.

What if I need medication?

The counselors do not prescribe medication but they will assist you to in obtaining medication from our ESF Student Health Center, Crouse Medical Practice. Students interested in learning more about medication can make an appointment directly with the Crouse at (315) 766-1628.

Student Conduct required that I see a counselor to complete a sanction. What can I expect?

We provide assessment interventions for students to complete their conduct sanctions. You will meet with a counselor to complete a general assessment of your wellness, as well as discuss decision-making and support services available to you.

The Dean for Student Affairs is mandating contact with Counseling Services after I was hospitalized for mental health concerns. What can I expect?

In the rare occurrence of a serious mental health issue occurring on or off campus that requires hospitalization, ESF is focused on your safety and wanting to assist you in any way we can. You will meet with a counselor for a general assessment of your wellness and create a safety plan to ensure that you are aware of all of the resources available to you.

Will you provide a letter to support a late course withdrawal or College withdrawal?

Mary Triano, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs (Student Support) or Dean Lombard will be more than happy to meet with you and discuss all of your options regarding withdrawing, incompletes, and transfers. They can be reached at (315) 470-6660.   

Counseling Services Links

Location and Hours

105 Bray Hall
Monday-Friday
8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Call 315-470-4716 to make an appointment for non-crisis related issues, or stop in.

Crisis Help

  • If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
  • If you need to reach University Police for an urgent matter, call x6666 or x6667 from any campus phone or 315-470-6666 or 315-470-6667.
  • If you have experienced sexual assault, relationship violence, or are currently experiencing a mental health crisis, 24-hour emergency support services are available:
    • Walk-in/Crisis Hours:
      • Monday - Friday, 10 - 11 a.m.
      • Monday - Friday, 2 - 3 p.m.
    • Crisis services after-hours/weekends: 315-470-4716

Meet the Staff

Ruth A. Larson, Director of Counseling Services
Ruth has been a counselor for over 20 years and her focus is on adjusting to college, depression, anxiety, mindfulness, grief and loss, PTSD, sexual and relationship violence, and LGBTQ issues.  She is certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), an effective tool for PTSD and phobias. 

Roger D. Howard, Staff Therapist
Roger has worked in the human services field for 10 years, with the last 7 years working as a counselor. Areas of focus are: depression, anxiety, adjustment to college, grief and loss, healthy relationships, cultural issues, substance abuse, and LGBTQ. He worked as a domestic violence educator for 6 years, grief therapist for 3 years, and a mental health therapist for 4 years.

Evelyn Piccoli, Office Assistant 2
Evelyn has worked for over 13 years at several medical practices. She has several years of experience working as a secretary at an outpatient mental health and substance abuse clinic.